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Farrell Family Jazz at the Athenaeum Series
July 27 @ 7:30 pm$152 – $172
Saturday, June 10—Edward Simon “Femeninas” featuring Magos Herrera
Friday, June 16—Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke
Monday, July 24—Sullivan Fortner Trio
Thursday, July 27—Harold Lopez-Nussa “Timba a la Americana” with Gregoire Maret
Jazz returns to the Athenaeum for our annual series of summer concerts in the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room (at 1008 Wall Street in La Jolla). This series features both Athenaeum favorites and debuts by internationally acclaimed artists. Seating is limited so order soon!
The summer series opens on Saturday, June 10, with a special program created by celebrated Venezuelan pianist-composer-arranger Edward Simon, joined by his trio members, Reuben Rogers (bass) and Adam Cruz (drums), plus special guests Luis Quintero (percussion) and Grammy-nominated Mexican jazz vocalist Magos Herrera. Simon is known to Athenaeum audiences from his past performances as a leader, with the SFJAZZ Collective and in the Steel House trio with Scott Colley and Brian Blade. JazzTimes commented, “[Simon] may be the most complete creative artist . . . among important jazz pianists from the Caribbean and South America.” Of vocalist Herrera, NPR wrote, “She gets way under the skin of the song, recalling great communicators like Edith Piaf or Billie Holiday.” Simon writes of this new program, Femeninas, “This project spotlights the contributions of Latin American women songwriters, living and past, well-known and unknown, such as Violeta Parra (Chile), Marta Valdes (Cuba), Chabuca Granda (Peru), Elizabeth Morris (Argentina), and Joyce [Moreno] (Brazil). These incredible songwriters have created beautiful songs that should be internationally known.” This concert will also feature a new composition by Simon, Latino Soy, commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Program. This performance is made possible with the support of Jazz Road, a national initiative of South Arts, funded by the Duke and Mellon foundations.
The series continues on Friday, June 16, with a stellar duo of vocalist Gretchen Parlato and guitarist-vocalist Lionel Loueke. (Please note: at the artists’ request, audience members must be masked or provide proof of vaccination.) They will perform music from their forthcoming album, Lean In, which tells the story of 20 years of connection, inspiration, and friendship between two musical soulmates who first met while studying at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (now Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance) at UCLA. Parlato wrote, “Lean In is all about healing, deep trust, love, and family. In a time when warmth and compassion are needed more than ever before, we felt compelled to make a record sharing songs of inspiration, reflection, wonder, and unity.” In the early 2000s, Parlato and Loueke both emerged as major artists on the rise, with Loueke working with luminaries like Terence Blanchard and Herbie Hancock, and Parlato winning first place in the 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. Parlato made her Athenaeum debut in 2012, and Loueke has appeared in past Athenaeum concerts with both Jeff Ballard and Luciana Souza. DownBeat wrote, “Gretchen Parlato is a singer-arranger of consummate control and slow-burning intensity . . . [she] lives at the crossroads of sensuous and spiritual.” Of Benin-born Loueke, the New York Times wrote, “[He] is one of the most striking jazz artists to emerge in some time . . . a spellbinding presence . . . a startlingly original voice.”
Next up, on Monday, July 24, brings an Athenaeum debut by the Sullivan Fortner Trio, featuring Fortner on piano, Tyrone Allen on bass, and Kayvon Gordon on drums. New Orleans–native Sullivan Fortner has gained wide recognition as one of the most accomplished jazz musicians of his generation. His accolades include the 2015 Cole Porter Fellowship awarded by the American Pianists Association, the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2016 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, and in 2020, the prestigious Shifting Foundation Grant for artistic career development. A Grammy Award–winner, he has earned recognition in multiple DownBeat Critics Polls, winning first place as both Rising Star Pianist and Rising Star Jazz Artist. His broad range of musical associations includes artists such as Roy Hargrove, Stefon Harris, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Wynton Marsalis. The New York Times wrote, “Fortner’s fundamentals as a player could hardly be stronger, and his instincts as a composer and bandleader are almost startlingly mature . . . he is an artist with his own distinct style.” Pulling elements from different eras, Fortner’s artistry both preserves the tradition and evolves the sound. He finds connections among different musical styles that are at once deeply soulful and wildly inventive. This concert is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts through the Western Jazz Presenters Network.
The series concludes on Thursday, July 27, with Cuban pianist and composer Harold López-Nussa’s Timba a la Americana, featuring Lopez-Nussa on piano, Grégoire Maret on harmonica, Luques Curtis on bass, and Ruy Adrian López-Nussa on drums. López-Nussa sets out to capture the stirring sensation of walking the streets of Havana with an exhilarating marriage of jazz and Cuban pop music. He has built a global following in jazz and beyond, having burst upon the international scene when he won first prize in the solo piano competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2005. He has gone on to play at the world’s leading jazz venues and festivals. His tight-knit quartet captivates audiences with a driving vivaciousness that “bridges generations and genres” (Billboard). His music reflects the full range and richness of Cuban music, with its distinctive combination of classical, folkloric, and popular elements, in addition to a virtuosic embrace of jazz improvisation and interaction. DownBeat wrote, “López-Nussa’s single-note grace is akin to Herbie Hancock’s, and his two-fisted attacks are as joyous as Chick Corea’s.” His latest album, Timba a la Americana, due out in May, features the extraordinary Grammy-winning harmonica player Maret, who appeared last summer at the Athenaeum with pianist Kenny Werner and has worked with legends such as Herbie Hancock, Prince, and Pat Metheny.